Here’s how to succeed in college in only four words: Have good, consistent habits. Sounds pretty simple, right? Maybe a little too simple? After all, what defines “good?” Many people achieve college success by paying attention to what works for other students. Yet, that’s not always a sure-fire method. Some students do well in spite of their bad habits, which can make it hard to sort out what will actually work for you. Thankfully, plenty of time-tested advice exists to help you out.
Successful students tend to practice habits and mindsets that allow them to feel in control of their education. They don’t study harder; they study smarter. They often experience less stress than other students. And they enjoy the learning process rather than seeing it as merely a means to an end.
Of course, knowing how to be successful in college also requires knowing your own definition of success. For this article, being a successful student means following through on your college or trade school education and doing what’s necessary to put yourself in position to establish and sustain a rewarding career after you graduate.
If you want to know how to succeed in school, then this is an aspect that can’t be ignored. Seek out courses that stretch your limits. Understand that learning, by its very nature, is a challenging process. So embrace that challenge.Your curiosity can guide you to many of the most rewarding courses. But it can also blind you to choices that may benefit you just as much, if not more. So take care not to rule out courses that seem beyond your interest. Many students find their paths to success accidentally because they have to take courses they didn’t initially want to take. Stay open to the possibility of pleasant surprises by making room for a few subjects outside the pull of your curiosity. You might just discover new strengths you never knew you had.
The sooner you get started in the subjects that interest you most, the better. It gives you a chance to really determine whether or not you feel they are something you can stick with and grow from. (Some students find out that their interests pointed them in the wrong direction.) It’s always better to change your focus of study early on instead of far into your college experience.
Knowledge and theory are important. But once you graduate, you’ll need to demonstrate that you can actually do stuff that employers will pay for. So it’s a good idea to pay attention to the skills that are in high demand and mix some of them into your education.
Taking widely divergent courses allows you to acquire different types of knowledge and skills that you can connect and use together in new ways. This approach often leads to the development of innovative thinking, which is a highly prized skill in today’s economy. And many employers love to hire people who can provide extra value outside of their main skill set.